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Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa
Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887

ABNER N. SPENCER, deceased, was born in Orange County, Vt., May 11, 1820, and was a son of Hon. William and Martha (Nutting) Spencer; the father of our subject was a native of Connecticut, a college graduate and a lawyer by profession, and was Judge for a number of years. Abner N. Spencer was brought up on a farm, and remained with his parents until he attained his majority. He came West in 1841 and, locating in this county, remained a resident here for two years. He then returned to his old home in the Green Mountain State, and lived there four years, and then went to Manchester, N. H., where he met and married Miss Abbie J., daughter of Macajah and Mary (Cogswell) Osborn, the date of their nuptials being March 6, 1848. In a short time thereafter he started again for the undeveloped West, accompanied by his bride. They came by canal to Buffalo, thence embarked on a steamer for Chicago, then took a stage for Galena, Ill., and from there went to Dubuque, Iowa, and thence came to this county. They located on section 10, Polk Township, where the good wife yet resides. Mr. Spencer, on arriving in this county, at once engaged actively and energetically in the improvement of his land. He erected a little rude log cabin on his place, and in that humble abode his children were born and the family were domiciled for ten years. The land on which he located was undeveloped, and he at once engaged in breaking it, using for that purpose four yoke of oxen. He and his faithful wife worked hard and continuously, with but one interest in common, the establishment of a permanent and comfortable home. Their labors were crowned with success, and in 1858 Mr. Spencer erected a two-story brick residence, at a cost of about $3,000. He also built a large barn, and at the date of his death left a fine farm and beautiful home to his wife and children. There is a choice grove on the farm, known all over the county as Spencer's Grove.

Mr. Spencer entered 160 acres of land when he first came here, and by energy and perseverance, coupled with economy and good judgment, he was enabled to add to his original purchase until at the date of his demise he was the proprietor of 610 acres of fine land. He was a member of the Baptist Church, and brought his children up to a strict observance of that faith. He died, as he had lived, a true Christian. He was a public-spirited citizen, and furnished the land and a major portion of the capital to erect the Baptist Church that now stands on his place.

Mr. Spencer and his wife became the parents of eight children, five of whom have passed to the home beyond the grave. Josephine married J. D. Burrell, and they reside in Urbana, Iowa; George C. was united in marriage with Miss Minnie Knutz, and they are living in Polk Township; Frank P. selected Miss Alice Spencer as his companion for life and they are living on the old homestead. The children deceased are Frances J., Victoria, Willie C., Ada and May. Frank P. is engaged in cultivating the old homestead, and is an industrious, intelligent and enterprising young man. In addition to the cultivation of his land, he is to some extent engaged in the buying and selling as well as raising of stock.

The major portion of Mrs. Spencer's farm is a pasture. She is a member of the Baptist Church, and an active and energetic laborer in the cause of the Master. The daughter May married Henry Barr, and left two sons — Clifford and Jay D.

The subject of this notice passed to the home beyond the grave, and joined the silent majority on the other shore, Nov. 14, 1879. He was a kind and loving husband and father, a generous friend and neighbor, and a gentleman respected by all who knew him for his sterling worth and integrity.

Source Citation: "1887 Benton County, Iowa Biographies"  [database online]  Benton County IAGenWeb Project. <>
Original data: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa." Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887, p. 280-281.
Transcribed by: Sue Soden. Submitted to the Benton County IAGenWeb Project on February 10th, 2009.  Copyright © 2009 The IAGenWeb Project.

Return to: 1887 Biography Index

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